Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Hawaiian Applique 101

I'm actually learning something new. I've always wanted to try needle turn applique but was convinced that it would be too hard and the end result would be a disappointment. However I bravely enrolled myself in Quilt University's Hawaiian applique course to see if I could get the basics.
So far so good. As you can see I've cut out the breadfruit pattern and it is now basted to the background. Next week is the needleturn, the tutor says that's easy too, I certainly hope so!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

What's Your Favourite Colour?

I have always loved colours. When I was in primary school my mother made all our clothes as well as sewing a wardrobe for herself. I always enjoyed the trip to the department store when it was time for a new outfit. I wasn't that interested in patterns or even fabric. My favourite part of the store was the display of knitting yarns on the wall behind the counter. The balls of wool were sorted by colour and the resulting rainbow always impressed me. When I started knitting I always chose wool with as many colours as possible.

This list on The Phrontistery is fascinating. 168 definitions of obscure colour terms. I was familiar with argent, goldenrod, heliotrope and saffron; I could guess at rufous (reddish brown) and nigrine (black); but what about niveous, puccoon and minium? Did you know lurid is red-yellow, pavonated is peacock blue, and smaragdine is emerald green? Well, you do now. Try using solferino (purplish red) and smalt (deep blue) in a conversation this week.
The centre to the chocolate heart quilt is finished and I'm adding the borders. I've made some changes to the original pattern, measured across the center and finished the border on one side. I am very pleased with the result. I think the shades of badious, castory and brunneous look very well together.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

2010 Year of the Signature Quilt

Over the New Year weekend I got my antique signature quilt out to get some photos. The Criswell quilt was made in Chester County Pennsylvania in 1852 by my g-g-grandmother Mary Criswell. The quilt was made for Mary's parents Andrew and Alice Criswell. Each of the 60 quilt blocks was made by a family member or friend; each block has a name and most have a location. The fabric is very worn as you can see in the photo, but the writing is still legible.

Jennie took a photo of each block and I'm putting them up on Flickr. My first research area is the people who made the quilt. My family tree is online at Ancestry.com and I'm putting together the jigsaw of the Criswell family. I've discovered that the Chester County Historical Society has a quilt collection so I hope they can help me research this one.

Next job is to research the patterns used in the album blocks. I got Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Applique for Christmas so that will come in handy.

One day I'd like to have a go at reproducing the quilt. I guess I'd have to learn to hand applique first, so I'm registered in Hawaiian Quilting 101 at Quilt University. The unit starts next week, I promise to blog my progress.

Friday, 1 January 2010

My Sewing Room Window

This is the view from my south facing sewing room in the summer. This part of the garden is badly in need of a refit. The garden is best in spring, lots of bulbs and enough rainfall to keep things green. As soon as the hot weather hits in November everything dries off and brown replaces green. I need to pull everything out and start over but it doesn't rank highly on the to do list.
The big eucalypt trees in the photo are between our property and a gravel road which leads to the neighbour's house. We take the dog for a walk each morning along this track; we occasionally see wallabies, kangaroos and koalas.
What sewing am I doing? I'm doing a sample for a mystery quilt I'm presenting to our patchwork group and I'm in the middle of a semi-major clean-up. The chocolate hearts are all in one tub now and are top of the UFO list.
Made a quick trip to the new twilight market and had a chat to Lara from Chocolate Coated. Bought a Sewline fabric pencil, I've heard good things about these fabric markers. I'm always too nervous to mark a quilt top, I usually stitch in the ditch but now I have no excuse to try something more adventurous.